Israel – Fiji reaffirm partnership

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Israel and Fiji have reasserted commitment to advance cooperation on issues of mutual priorities, such as UN peacekeeping operations, economic prosperity and sustainable development.

Israel’s support was conveyed Friday, to the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka at a courtesy call by the non-resident Ambassador of Israel to Fiji, Roi Rosenblit.

Prime Minister Rabuka welcomed Ambassador Rosenblit on his official visit to Fiji to discuss the potential areas of cooperation between the two nations.

At the meeting, Ambassador Rosenblit presented a congratulatory letter from the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu to Prime Minister Rabuka.

In his message, Prime Minister Netanyahu conveyed his sincere congratulations to Prime Minister Rabuka for the recent elections and wished him well in his role.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has also extended an invitation to Prime Minister Rabuka to visit Israel at a time convenient to him.

In response, Prime Minister Rabuka expressed the Coalition Government’s and the people of Fiji’s best wishes to Prime Minister Netanyahu and the people of Israel.

He also reaffirmed Fiji’s commitment to further strengthen partnership with Israel at the global and regional levels.

The Coalition Government’s plan to establish a Fiji Embassy in Jerusalem within the next two years, signifies the importance of longstanding relations between Fiji and Israel.

Additionally, the ongoing cooperation in the UN peacekeeping operations in the Middle East through the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), and the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), was also highlighted at the meeting.

At the same time, Ambassador Rosenblit extended Israel’s heartfelt appreciation to Fiji for its excellent contributions to the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).

He said he was honoured to meet Prime Minister Rabuka and also commended him for his exemplary service in the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping duties.

“Prime Minister Rabuka diligently served as the Commander of both the battalions in MFO.”

Ambassador Rosenblit said Israel looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Rabuka to Israel to take the Fiji-Israel’s relations to newer heights.

At the meeting they discussed opportunities for cooperation in the areas of mutual interest particularly, in agricultural development and economic- based sectors.

“Israel is keen to collaborate in a number of initiatives particularly, in the capacity building and skills development trainings, in areas of agriculture, technology, business and investment, to name a few.”
Israel looks forward to supporting Fiji through the agricultural programmes, which promotes real time practical learning and skills enhancement.

Ambassador Rosenblit mentioned that, “We are also going to build cooperation in the enhancement of health care services, through provision of medical scholarships for Masters in the Public Health.

“There are a number of beneficiaries of this programme in Fiji, who have recently acquired their Masters in Public Health from Israel.

“I am pleased to inform that they are now working at high positions within Fiji’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation.

“We hope to offer more of such scholarships to Fiji and also look at ways to support Fiji’s commitment in the quality health care services,” he added.

During his weeklong visit to Fiji, Ambassador Rosenblit met senior government officials and the Heads of Missions in Suva. He also discussed the current areas of cooperation, while exploring opportunities to increase the levels of collaboration between Fiji and Israel.

Ambassador Rosenblit concluded his week-long visit after meeting senior government officials and Heads of Missions in Suva, discussing opportunities for cooperation in mutual interests particularly, in capacity-building and skills development trainings, in areas of agriculture, technology, business and investment, to name a few.

Prime Minister Rabuka said reciprocal diplomatic relations between the two countries, and possible locations of Fiji’s embassy in Israel were among issues they discussed over lunch Sunday.

“My personal feeling is that Jerusalem should be location of our new Fiji embassy, but I will have to sell this to our coalition partners.

“We already have our people living in Jerusalem, and most of us who have served in the Middle East who are now senior people both in government and outside government understand the security situation in Jerusalem,” said PM Rabuka.

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS